Memory Catcher

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Can Myers-Briggs Tell a Couple If They’re Compatible?

When an Introvert Dates an Extrovert, Sparks Can Fly

I (an introverted writer) was dating an outgoing psychologist with a penchant for coaching me on how to work a room, talk to waiters, and dress in a manner that appealed to him.

After a few months of early relationship sizzle, he handed me a plain brown paper envelope.

“What’s this?” I asked.

“I thought you’d have fun answering these questions,” he replied. “And it will help us get to know each other so much quicker.” It was the Myers Briggs questionnaire.

I never actually answered the questions, but after a bit of study, I guessed he was an ENFP and I was an INFJ. “Right,” he said. “I don’t think this relationship is meant to be.”

According to the Myers-Briggs Guide, an ENFP, or an Extroverted iNtuitive Feeling Perceiving person, is "warm, imaginative, spontaneous and flexible." My personality type, on the other hand, an Introverted iNtuitive Feeling Judging person, could be “determined to the point of stubbornness.”

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“I work best with an ESFJ,” he said. I scanned the guide for this four-letter combo and read the description. “A warmhearted type who caters to the needs of others.” As it turned out, he liked dating geishas.

Was the relationship doomed because I was an introvert and he an extrovert? No. I like being with extroverts who lift me out of isolation and encourage me to mingle. But I need a lot of quiet time. Too much socializing with people sucks the energy out of me, while solitude fills me up.

It was a matter of balance, we both agreed: allowing each other private time, spending enjoyable couple time, and going out together into the world. We decided we’d each be better off finding a nice co-dependent to cater to our needs.

 

Laura Deutsch is a San Francisco-based writer. Her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and More magazine, among others.

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